Some exporters have raised concerns over consignments being held back by Hong Kong and Chinese customs in response to a similar action allegedly being taken by Indian authorities at Chennai port, FIEO said on Thursday. The matter assumes significance in the wake of border tensions between India and China at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
"We have been given to understand that customs is physically examining all imports from China which is delaying clearance, adding to the cost of imports," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S K Saraf said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan.
He said that some exporters have informed that, in response to such action, Hong Kong and Chinese customs are also holding back export consignments from India. Saraf urged the Commerce Ministry to take up the matter with Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to see whether any official communication has been sent to Indian customs regarding scrutiny of Chinese consignments here.
"Kindly take it up with CBIC and, if no such instructions have been given, a denial may be issued by CBIC so that the matter may be communicated to our importers in China and Hong Kong to suitably take up with their customs explaining our stand," he added. There are reports that customs authorities at Chennai port are conducting extra scrutiny of Chinese consignments.
China accounts for about 14 per cent of India's imports and is a major supplier for sectors like mobiles, telecom, power, plastic toys and critical pharma ingredients. During April 2019-February 2020, India imported goods worth USD 62.4 billion, while exports to the neighbouring country stood at USD 15.5 billion in the same period.
India has time and again raised concerns over widening trade deficit with China which stood at about USD 47 billion during April-February 2019-20.